Everyone is busy!  It really doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, anyone with a purpose in life has things to do, places to be or people to see.

Blog: The trap of being busy on purpose to appear successful

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It often seems that activity will overwhelm us so we resort to whatever time management techniques work for you.  Of course, all this efficient activity does make you more productive – doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, particularly in business, it is very easy to become very efficient in unproductive activity.  And then, once you are efficient at it, you delegate that unproductive activity so now you could have someone else doing an unproductive activity less efficiently than you!

The sad part is, we then repeat the process.  I am reminded of that song - We're busy doin' nothin'.

So how do we avoid this problem?

First (as usual), we need to have a clear idea of what we want to achieve.  Whether you call it a goal, a vision or whatever the latest buzz-word is, this becomes the benchmark against which we measure the value of any activity.

Next, we need to identify which activities we believe will help us achieve those goals.  We need a list of clear actions – “make more sales calls” is better than “make more sales”.  Success in the later stages of this process is dependent on how precise we can be at this stage.

Once we have our desired activities we must clearly define how to measure each one.  With the integration of technology into so much of what we do, the number of measures that can be obtained with a minimum of effort is impressive. Identifying the “best” one is more likely to be the problem.

Measuring activities is important for 2 reasons –

It helps us ensure that the activity is actually happening.  Over time, it is possible for an activity to “be forgotten”.  Stopping an activity may be a good decision but it needs to be a decision.

It also helps us identify unproductive activities.  If an activity is occurring as planned but our results are not improving, chances are that you have identified an activity that is not contributing as planned.  This is not to say that the activity is not contributing to other objectives so (again) a decision is required.

The start of a new year is a great time to access whether your activities (at home or in business) are contributing to your goals. But making sure you have the necessary activities to achieve your goals is clearly only part of the process.  Measuring results is critical if we want to ensure planned activities are happening but also to help us identify wasted activity.